Will Durst

100 Years of Reagan

By - Feb 16th, 2011 04:00 am
Sign-up for the Urban Milwaukee daily email

Hold up. Slow down. If you wait a half a second, there’ll be time for me to hop on the Ronald Reagan 100th birth anniversary bandwagon. Well, not so much “hop on” as “use a Sherman Tank to slam sideways into it.” Like it or not, a certain amount of pendulum swing is necessary here, lest the gods descend enraged and blind us for our collective, self-inflicted myopia.

We can be forgiven for feeling fittingly dazed and confused from the deluge of month-long, wall-to-wall television specials, radio reports and magazine cover stories all tinged in that faint, gauzy haze of selective memory that so easily metastasizes into revisionist history. The man was not Saint Ronny. He was an actor, who legendarily turned down Bogart’s role in Casablanca. Think how history would have changed– Bogart might have become President. Then again, Casablanca would be a lousy movie.

Some folks have been so feverish with Reagan-Palooza that there’s renewed talk of putting his face on the ten dollar bill. Excuse me? Wouldn’t food stamps be more appropriate? Or considering what he did for Wall Street, maybe the ten thousand dollar bill. On a related note, the US Postal Service unveiled the third stamp honoring the 40th POTUS, the distinction being this is a “Forever” stamp — so apropos when you consider his legacy on America’s disenfranchised.

Let us not forget: the Father of Modern Conservatism routinely fell asleep during Cabinet meetings, consulted astrology charts for the most auspicious time to take foreign policy trips, said ketchup is a vegetable and trees cause pollution. Hey, I got a funny joke for you: What did they call the homeless before Reagan? Mental patients! Does the term “Jared Lee Loughner” have any meaning here?

And yes, I am cognizant of the depth of the heap of steaming feces into which I’m stepping, in these Tea Partyish times where taking out Reagan is sacrilege. Like painting horns on posters of the Pope at a convent for retired nuns. Singing “Hello Dalai” at Richard Gere’s house (think Mother Teresa with fractionally less leper activity).

An example: his son, Ron Jr., wrote a book and in it, intimated that dad may have, once or twice, possibly exhibited symptoms of forgetfulness while in the Oval Office and KABLAM!! The righteous right came down on him like a wall of bricks on a grape. Totally ignoring 1994, when Dutch himself wrote a letter to the press detailing his Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis. My theory is he wrote the letter 12 years earlier and just forgot to mail it.

I was never afraid he was going to push the button. I always worried he was going to nod off and fall on it.

Then again, maybe the human male lead in Bedtime for Bonzo really does possess mystical powers. Both Sarah Palin and Barack Obama took pains to be seen singing psalms to the Great Communicator, and when these two star-crossed lovers can carve time out from their busy schedule of peering into focus group mirrors, we’re talking a miracle. Like most Presidents, Obama is just a figurehead, but Reagan… he was a hood ornament. A position Governor Palin merely aspires to.

San Francisco based political comedian, Will Durst, often writes, this being an example. Coming soon from Ulysses Press: Where the Rogue Things Go! Pre- order your copy at Amazon. Now. Go on. Do it.

0 thoughts on “Durst: 100 Years of Reagan”

  1. Anonymous says:

    100 years of Reagan and THIS is the only story ThirdCoast Digest deems necessary to publish about him? Wow. Now granted I am a conservative, but if this was the type of story you published regarding JFK’s 100th I would be equally sad. Not even sad just miffed. You used to give both sides of view and that’s what I enjoyed about your publication (other than the great arts coverage of course which is second to none) but even your so-called conservative writer(s) seem to have their opinions stifled. You have not lost me as a reader, because I love your arts coverage. But I will think twice about reading any op-ed piece in the future. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind that you published this story, I just felt a ‘nicer’ article could have been published about this man to offset this one. We already have a myriad of publications in this city that wouldn’t write a nice thing about a conservative if their life depended on it. Don’t turn into them. And while I do understand that a majority of arts people lean left; it is also a known fact that there are a ton of closet conservative’s throughout this arts community as well, who would be black listed if it was made public.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Seth,

    Will Durst is a syndicated political humor columnist and Milwaukee native who we pick up every week. Just so happens this was his column for today. You know from past experience with TCD that we don’t stifle conservatives; half our staff is openly conservative, as a matter of fact (since we don’t differentiate internally, I’ll leave it to you to guess who leans where). But I do appreciate your honest feedback: I hadn’t looked at the implications of publishing this story from your perspective. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *